Chapter 11

Since returning from Tokyo, Taeyeon and Jessica made time for each other despite their busy schedules. It wasn’t anything unusual but this time, the looming thought of the long separation, seemed to be hovering at the back of their minds. They ordered takeaways most of the time, choosing to spend time with each other at home instead of going out.

 

Finally, it was the day Jessica had to depart for Los Angeles. Taeyeon and Jessica were enjoying an early breakfast in a café at the Incheon International Airport. They were sitting side by side with Taeyeon cutting up the bacon into small pieces and feeding the younger woman. Jessica was stroking Taeyeon’s thighs while being fed. Occasionally they would share a light peck between eating their breakfast. There was hardly anyone else in the café and they were sitting in a quiet corner so the couple were more open with their affection.

 

Jessica cupped Taeyeon’s face and rubbed her thumbs on the baker’s cheeks. “This is going to be the longest time we’re apart since we got engaged. I’m going to miss this cute little face a lot.”

 

“I’m going to miss every inch of your body,” Taeyeon said, running her hands down the sides of Jessica’s body and stopping at her hips.

 

“What? You’re just interested in my body? Are you going to find someone else to work out with you??” Jessica hissed, brows knitting into a frown.

 

“Ya, I’m going to find someone sexier who’s wants to do a workout with me!” Taeyeon proclaimed jokingly, falling back in laughter.

 

“Alright, go ahead then. I can’t wait to see how she looks like. In the meantime, I’m going to find a gorgeous workout partner in LA. Those Caucasian women have drop-dead figures I can’t wait to get my hands on.” Jessica used her hands to mimic a curvaceous figure as she licked her lips.

 

Taeyeon panicked for a moment. “Aish! I’m only joking! But I’m upset that you have such little trust in me,” Taeyeon sulked and crossed her arms in front of her chest.

 

The couple continued to bicker playfully with each other until it was time for Jessica to go to the departure terminal.

 

“Be good while I’m away,” Jessica said softly, patting Taeyeon’s left cheek with her right hand. She gazed lovingly into the baker’s brown eyes and saw the worry in them.

 

“Don’t drink too much while I’m away. I won’t be around to save you,” Taeyeon reiterated, stroking Jessica’s right arm.

 

Jessica merely grinned and leaned forward to kiss Taeyeon on her lips briefly before enveloping the baker in a tight hug. “I should be telling you that, dear.”

 

Taeyeon tilted her head and pressed a kiss on Jessica’s neck. She inhaled deeply, letting the lavender shampoo scent fill her nose while they remained in a hug.

 

“He…hello,” a deep voice greeted.

 

The couple broke apart from their hug and saw Hyun Seung smiling weakly at them.

 

“Go..good morning. I’ll go in first. See you at the departure gate, Jessica,” Hyun Seung pulled his luggage and headed for the immigration counter.

 

Jessica planted a final peck on Taeyeon’s forehead and waved goodbye. She was already missing the baker terribly the moment her body left the warmth of the baker’s. It was the first time she had ever felt this way and according to the ‘love guru’ Tiffany Hwang, it was because Jessica was truly in love with Taeyeon unlike in her past flings or relationships.

 

“Remember to call me,” Taeyeon called out as Jessica was getting her passport and boarding pass checked. “Everyday!”

 

“Same goes for you. A daily update is a must!” Jessica winked and waved to Taeyeon before she walked into the immigration area.

 

Taeyeon waited until she couldn’t see Jessica anymore. With a heavy heart, she left the airport and headed for the cafe. The countdown to their reunion had started.

 

Meanwhile, Jessica wasn’t having a good time either. It wasn’t the first time she had gone on such a long business trip but this time it affected her quite badly. In her previous flings, she never had to deal with the feelings of the heart. Now, she had someone she truly loved and she could feel the longingness in her heart. To Jessica, missing Taeyeon was definitely the worst feeling she had so far.

 

While walking towards the departure gate, Jessica’s phone beeped. She pulled it out of her bag and couldn’t help breaking into a wide smile.

 

You may be out of sight but you’re never out of my mind. Remember to buy presents for me! Keep in touch! I love you! – Cheesecake K.

 

Jessica giggled as she typed a reply.

 

Don’t be distracted by that beautiful actress else I’ll drown you in hot caramel. P.S. I love you too. – Melon Chan

 

Hot caramel sounds sweet and yummy. I can imagine licking it off you…maybe we can use it the next time we make SWEET love? *grins* –  Cheesecake K.

 

PERVY!! – Melon Chan

 

Taeyeon laughed out loud and realized people around her were staring at her. She mouthed a sorry and walked quickly to the carpark, embarrassed by her action. This must be love, a feeling that made people go crazy and do silly things.

 

Two days later at A Spoonful of Sugar…

 

Early one morning, Taeyeon was in the kitchen of the café preparing the ingredients for baking a Japanese Castella Cake. It was a simple cake comprising of only four basic ingredients: bread flour, eggs, sugar and honey.

 

“Hey, you’ve not baked that cake in a while. Why the sudden inspiration?” Yuri asked, stepping into the kitchen. She put on her apron and chef’s hat before washing her hands.

 

“I know right! Sica and I were talking about honey earlier this morning and it suddenly reminded me of this recipe,” Taeyeon answered.

 

“Honey? Must be one of your endless cheesy conversations. How’s she coping over there? The time difference is crazy! Sixteen hours right?”

 

“Yup. Fortunately she has one day to acclimatise herself with the time difference before she dived into work.”

 

“At least you’re going to somewhere within the same time zone, one less headache,” Yuri added.

 

“Ah huh. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to have it easy in Tokyo. This time it’s a huge project and would be widely publicised by the media because of the actress.”

 

“Someone’s gonna be a superstar! Please sign on my dough,” Yuri laughed, shoving a lump of dough towards Taeyeon.

 

Taeyeon drew a random pattern before adding her name on the dough before pushing it back to Yuri.

 

“Keep that dough. It’s going to be worth a lot when I become famous,” Taeyeon proclaimed before both of them burst out laughing.

 

“Kim Choding!”

 

Taeyeon grinned like a little kid for a few seconds before it disappeared and her lips turned into a small letter ‘n’. Truthfully, Taeyeon did miss Jessica but the bigger reason for her sigh was meeting the Japanese actress. She didn’t have a good feeling about it but had no choice since she was part of Suzuki’s project team.

 

“I pray for everything to go on smoothly. It’s a huge project and we cannot afford to screw up. That makes me doubly stressed.”

 

“Don’t be silly. Why are you becoming so nervous? You’re the award-winning baker. Everything will be fine. Trust yourself. You can do it, I have faith in you.”

 

Yuri looked at the gloomy face person in front of her and couldn’t help but worry about her friend. She gave Taeyeon a reassuring hug.

 

“I miss her, Yul,” Taeyeon said softly.

 

“Hey, cheer up. I know you miss Sica a lot but it’s only three weeks. Keep yourself occupied and she’ll be back in your arms very soon,” Yuri consoled, ruffling Taeyeon’s hair as if the baker were a small kid.

 

“I’m going over to Tokyo earlier to help Suzuki san since I’ve completed this term’s classes at the Academy as he has his hands full because of this project. He’s offering me a room at the student hostel and he’s glad to have me help him in his café before we start working on the project.”

 

“Bring some of his delicious strawberry shortcakes, cream puffs and mont blancs when you return. That’s in exchange for the amount of work I have to do while you’re away,” Yuri said, wagging her finger at Taeyeon.

 

“Yes boss!” Taeyeon broke into a smile while Yuri laughed.

 

~*~*~*~

 

First night in Tokyo

 

Taeyeon was given a single room with an attached bathroom at the hostel, a privilege not many got to enjoy. With the privacy, Taeyeon could talk to Jessica without any interruptions. She fluffed the pillow and used it to prop her back against the wall. Phone in her hand and warmly tucked under a blanket, Taeyeon waited anxiously for the call to come in.

 

Los Angeles

 

The alarm went off. Its shrill rings echoed in the quiet hotel room. A hand reached out from under the blanket and silenced it immediately. Some movements later, peace and quiet resumed. After five minutes, the alarm went off again. The same hand slammed onto the alarm clock and shut it off.

 

A mess of chestnut coloured hair peeked out from under the blanket while the slender arm reached for the mobile phone on the side table.

 

“Oh crap!” Jessica exclaimed when she saw the time. With her eyes half opened, she dialled Taeyeon’s number. She almost overslept and missed the time they had agreed on to talk over the phone. Thanking her lucky stars, she heaved a sigh of relief when she heard the baker’s voice once the call was connected.

 

First weekend apart

 

“Hey Jessi, join us for drinks tonight!” Matthew, a redhead working in the LA office yelled across the room.

 

“Not tonight, Matt.”

 

“Why not? It’s TGIF! We need to catch up. I’ve not seen you for years!”

 

“Sorry Matt, I have something on tonight. I’ll take a rain check alright?”

 

“Are you secretly meeting a hot girl at your hotel? This is the third time in the row you’re rejecting us for drinks. The last time you were here, you would jump at the chance to go,” Matthew complained.

 

“Let her off bro, she needs to chat with her fiancee,” Hyun Seung commented, emphazing the last word. Out of the blue, he appeared beside the American.

 

Jessica shot Hyun Seung an icy glare. It wasn’t because she didn’t want people to know that she was engaged. It was due to Hyun Seung’s sarcastic tone which made her want to stomp on his feet with her heels. Hyun Seung was obviously still sour over the joke the team played on him.

 

“Yay, it’s a guy’s night out!” Hyun Seung declared. He draped an arm over Matthew’s shoulders and led him to the exit at the office.

 

“Wait up!”

 

Hyun Seung and Matthew stopped in their tracks. They turned around and saw Jessica hurrying towards them.

 

“She’s sleeping right now anyway. I’ll join you guys,” Jessica said, catching her breath. It had been a busy week and Jessica wanted to reward herself. Moreover, it was past midnight in Tokyo time and Taeyeon would definitely be sleeping. She could still get back to the hotel in time to call her.

 

A smirk crept up Hyun Seung’s face.

 

Matthew wrapped an arm around Jessica’s shoulder. “What are we waiting for? First round of drinks on you!”

 

Four hours later, a red-faced Jessica stumbled into the washroom at the bar. It had been a long time since she had so much to drink. Tequila, Baileys, whiskey, cocktails and the list went on. It had been a stressful week at work and in her personal life. Dealing with the time difference was a headache. Work stress and the feeling of missing her loved one were also taking a toll on her. Hence, tonight she got a little carried away with the amount of drinks.

 

While Jessica was freshening up, she saw her clutch bag vibrate gently at the side of the sink. Reaching into the bag, she pulled out her mobile phone. It was Taeyeon.

 

“Hey darling,” Jessica chirped as she answered the call.

 

“Where have you been? I waited for an hour but you didn’t call and I got worried. I called your several times and there were no answer.” Taeyeon was frustrated yet worried at the same time. She felt a bit relieved to finally hear Jessica’s voice.

 

“Sorry, it is noisy and I couldn’t hear the phone…” Heavy bass was booming in the background.

 

“Are you at a club right now?” Taeyeon questioned, cutting Jessica off. The pulsating music in the background was making it difficult to hear Jessica’s voice.

 

Jessica pressed the phone against her ear and went to the open air roof top where it was quieter. There were some people hanging out there; a few of them were smoking and there was couple who was engrossed in kissing and groping each other. Jessica looked away and headed for a quieter corner.

 

“My colleagues asked me out for drinks. We have not seen each other for a while so they wanted to catch up.”

 

“Catch up? How are they going to hear you amid the loud music? It’s hard to believe someone would choose a club for a place to catch up,” Taeyeon said in disbelief. Frustration was building up inside of her, especially when she waited for almost an hour for Jessica to call. Every call, be it long or short, was precious as they couldn’t be with each other physically and the best way was to call.

 

“Look, Taeyeon ah. I’ve already rejected them twice this week. Moreover today’s Friday, can’t I let my hair down?” Jessica didn’t realised that she was raising her voice little by little. Nearby, a couple who were busy kissing and groping each other hurriedly moved away from the frustrated consultant.

 

“I’m not saying you can’t relax and hang out with your friends. But it’s already so late. You…”

 

“Late? You mean people go clubbing in the morning?” Jessica interjected. She was irritated by Taeyeon’s comments and was waving her free hand in the air. Her other hand was gripping tightly onto the phone which was plastered onto her ear.

 

The atmosphere became very tensed, as if a knife could slice through it. Neither of them spoke a word for a good minute. It felt like eternity.

 

“Sorry.” A single word from the baker broke the silence over the phone.

 

Jessica leaned over the ledge and looked down at the crowds and colourful neon lights below.

 

“I didn’t mean to flare up at you. It is just…I miss you and I am worried for you. I know you can hold your liquor but I feel insecure when I can’t be by your side. Sorry baby,” Taeyeon said softly.

 

There was a short sigh.

 

Jessica flipped her hair back and looked up at the sky. “I’m sorry too, for raising my voice at you. It was my fault for making you worried.”

 

Pausing for a moment, Jessica continued, “I love you.”

 

“I love you too…always.”

 

Since that incident at the club, the couple made it a point to try to talk to each other on a daily basis but at times it was difficult to due to their work schedules. Texting was the next best alternative.

 

It definitely wasn’t easy to maintain a long distance relationship.